Sea Sirens by Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee Review {Graphic Novel}

Sea Sirens by Amy ChuSea Sirens by Amy Chu & Janet K. Lee (Artist/Illustrator) (A Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure #1)

Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Pages: 144

Available Through The Book Depository: Sea Sirens

Summary: Trot, a Vietnamese American surfer girl, and Cap’n Bill, her cranky one-eyed cat, catch too big a wave and wipe out, sucked down into a magical underwater kingdom where an ancient deep-sea battle rages. The beautiful Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King and his slithery minions–and Trot and her feline become dangerously entangled in this war of tails and fins.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Sea Sirens is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel with a unique art-style, a delightful story, and wonderful cast of characters! Trot finds herself in an underwater kingdom with her cat Cap’n Bill, where an ancient deep-sea battle rages on between Sirens & Serpents! Powerful themes of family and friendship, alongside adventure, are present all throughout Chu and Lee’s spectacular graphic novel! This one is a must-read!

Sea Sirens follows Trot, whose a dedicated surfer girl living in Huntington Beach, Cali. & her one-eyed cat Cap’n Bill who she rescued as a stray on the beach! They both get taken to an underwater kingdom of Sirens & Serpents when powerful wave pushes them underwater!

READ THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL–ITS FANTASTIC!! 💖 I was looking forward to this one for months because the beautiful cover immediately had me add it to my TBR and the story inside is just as beautiful!

Trot is a surfer girl at heart and the story starts with her spending the day at the beach surfing and her grandfather enjoying fishing! But, her grandfather goes missing (due to his dementia) and she’s heartbroken! Luckily he’s found, but her workaholic mother tells her she can’t go out to the beach without her, to ensure her grandfather’s safety!

However, Trot doesn’t let that stop her from surfing, so she finds a way to sneak out. She and Cap’n Bill catch a bad wave and get thrust to the bottom of the ocean where Sirens and Serpents are in battle! Luckily, Cap’n Bill is ready to chase the serpents away! The Siren princess, Clia invites them to stay in her kingdom– now Trot & Cap’n Bill are celebrated for their bravery (but mainly Cap’n Bill 😂)!

The story continues with Trot & Cap’n Bill exploring the kingdom, being celebrated with a feast, and learning more about the battle between Sirens & Serpents, alongside the history of the Queendom of the Sirens (I loved the scene introduced early on when princess Clia shows her a mural of their history commissioned by her great-grandmother)!

Clia, princess of the Sirens introduces Trot to her world, as does Queen Aquareine, and the 2 develop a friendship over the course of the story.

One of my favorite parts was seeing the inventions/magical objects of the Siren’s world that continuously immerse Trot into this underwater kingdom! There’s one object in particular that added so much to the story and that was a special pearl necklace that allows Cap’n Bill to talk! I loved getting to hear what he had to say and it added so much to the story!!

I don’t want to spoil things, but there’s a few plot twists that send Trot, Cap’n Bill, and Clia on a rescue mission!

Of course with the Sirens being familiar/fascinated with human world (but not exactly interacting with it so close to the surface). I really enjoyed learning more about this split between their world and ours through their fascination with the ships that sink in their territory! I also loved learning about the Sirens love of charting the ocean territories–I hope that’s explored more in upcoming releases!

The politics and world-building of the underwater kingdom were so beautifully explored and had so much depth, yet still left a bit of mystery that I can’t wait to learn more about it in future books!

Sea Sirens draws inspiration not only from Vietnamese folklore and fairytales, but mainly L. Frank Baum’s children’s fantasy novel published in 1911 titled, The Sea Fairies!

Now onto the representation! This graphic novel mainly features Vietnamese representation! Trot herself is Vietnamese-American and her grandfather is Vietnamese! It was great to see the rep. explored through the use of language and elements of Vietnamese folklore/fairytales! The representation and culture is woven throughout the pages of this beautiful story!

The art itself is so unique! There’s the use of watercolor and vibrant line-work present throughout the whole graphic novel! I really paid attention to the artwork throughout each panel and was in awe at the stunning art that not only immersed me, but left me captivated! The design of the characters, settings, and color palette brought everything to life!

Sea Sirens ends on a wonderful note hinting at more to come and I can’t wait!!

Sea Sirens by Amy Chu & Janet K. Lee is a beautiful and immersive graphic novel that’s filled with adventure when Trot gets sucked into an underwater kingdom! From the story to artwork, themes, and so much more–this is a wonderful graphic novel that you don’t want to miss!

Slice Of Life Fantasy & Book Recommendations {Book Blogger Discussion}

There’s something special about stories that explore and follow characters through their everyday lives. There’s a name for stories like this and that’s “Slice Of Life.”

While this category can apply to such a vast number of different genres, I’d personally learned about this category in my early teens as I continued watching anime and reading manga.

Goodreads describes Slice Of Life as a “…naturalistic representation of real life which has been cut out of a larger story…”

With that, I found my love for these particular kinds of stories one could best describe as Slice Of Life Fantasy!

For me, Slice Of Life Fantasy means that while a story is set in a fantasy world–has a magic system, magical creatures, or is a world that’s unlike our own–at its’ core the plot can fall into a contemporary sphere because it focuses on the characters’ typical/daily lives. It also has core elements and themes that are relatable outside of its fantasy setting! There’s still action, but from my perspective it’s used more for driving certain plot points than being an active part of the story itself!

Whether its going to school, making new friends, or being with family– there’s something special about these types of stories that I just adore!

Today I’ll share with you some books I can categorize as Slice Of Life Fantasy and I hope I can offer some wonderful new recommendations for your TBR! 💞📚

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones1. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle #1)

Why Its Slice Of Life Fantasy: I’ve personally only seen the Ghibli movie, but from what I remember of it, the animation & scenery, presentation of Sophie’s life working in her family’s hat shop, and the friends she makes while staying in Howl’s castle present this Slice Of Life Fantasy atmosphere!

Summary: Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Girl-of-Ink-and-Stars2. The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Why Its Slice Of Life Fantasy: If you were to ask me the earliest book I read which delivered this idea of Slice Of Life Fantasy it would be The Girl Of Ink & Stars! Isabella, a cartographer’s daughter, lives on the island of Joya (which has magic running through it). Isa goes on a search for her missing friend Lupe alongside her friend Pablo as she learns more about her home. There’s themes of adventure, friendship, and the importance of stories through myths. The myths themselves have been passed down to Isa through her father!

Summary: Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.

When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.

But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O' Neill3.The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill (Tea Dragon #1)

Why Its Slice Of Life Fantasy: This delightful and beautifully illustrated graphic novel follows Greta, daughter of a blacksmith, who learns more about Tea Dragons and caring for them through tea merchant/shop owner Hesekiel, when she becomes his apprentice! The Tea Dragon Society is set in a magical, diverse world that also emphasizes craft and preservation of the arts! Greta embarks on an enchanting adventure as she learns more about the magical Tea Dragons and makes new friends!

Summary: From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever Aftercomes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own. 

* If your looking for a recently released middle-grade graphic novel that may fall into the realm of Slice Of Life Fantasy too, I recommend Sea Sirens by Amy Chu:

Trot & her cat get taken to an underwater magical kingdom where there’s an ancient deep-sea battle rages on! There’s also Vietnamese-American rep. and exploration of Vietnamese Mythology!!

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama Vol. 14. Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama (Witch Hat Atelier #1)

Why Its Slice Of Life Fantasy: In this world, magic has been kept hidden but the main character Coco has been fascinated by it her entire life and wants more than anything–to become a witch! Witch Hat Atelier connects to this wonder and hope that magic lives within each of us. The relatable themes of this story are present not only through the plot, but the optimistic and joyful main character Coco. While there’s a whimsy to it, there’s a depth and complexity to the magic system alongside the captivating world that makes it feel grounded in reality. Coco finds her seemingly “un-magical” life turned upside down as she learns more about the magic she has within herself!

Summary: In a world where everyone takes wonders like magic spells and dragons for granted, Coco is a girl with a simple dream: She wants to be a witch. But everybody knows magicians are born, not made, and Coco was not born with the gift for magic. She’s resigned to her un-magical life, until a traveling magician passes through her village, and Coco learns what what everybody “knows” might not be the truth.

* If your looking for another fantastic and more contemporary example of Slice Of Life Fantasy with witches I also recommend: Flying Witch by Chihiro Ishizuka! Volume 1 of Flying Witch follows Makoto who goes to Aomori, Japan to live with her cousins as she continues her training to become a witch!

And those are my recommendations for Slice Of Life Fantasy books! I had a lot of fun creating this discussion and I hope you’ll check out these wonderful books!

Have you read any of the books I’ve recommended? 😍📚✨

Any books you know of that could be described as “Slice Of Life Fantasy”? 🍃✨📚

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat Review {Graphic Novel}

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie NourigatI Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat

Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom! Studios)

Release Date: January 1, 2019

Pages: 96

Available Through The Book Depository: I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation

Summary: The story of one woman’s quest to move to Los Angeles and got a job in animation…and how you can too.

When artist Tally Nourigat left her life in Portland to move to Los Angeles and pursue a job in animation, she realized that despite her research, nothing truly prepared her for the wild world that awaited in the studios of Southern California. From grinding on storyboard test after storyboard test to getting a job at a major studio to searching for an apartment in…the Valley…this autobiographical how-to graphic novel explores the highest highs and lowest lows of pursuing a dream in animation. Brushed with a dose of humor and illustrated advice about salaries, studio culture, and everything in between, ‘I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation’ is the unique insider experience you won’t find anywhere else.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Natalie Nourigat’s graphic novel chronicles her journey of getting into animation all while providing informative knowledge + advice of understanding and getting into the industry! This story is informative, fun, and filled with humor!

This graphic novel begins as Nourigat shares that she started as a freelance comic artist in Portland. As her hometown became more expensive, she still longed to break into the animation industry!

Then, she gets an opportunity to move to LA when a friend offers to host her stay.

From there, Nourigat shares her journey into what it took for her to land her jobs in the animation industry. It’s very technical and from what I read, a fun and informative graphic novel that details the process of getting your work out there and providing an insider look at getting into the industry of animation.

What I loved a lot while reading this story, was that even for those not in animation, Nourigat shares wonderful advice for anyone on the hunt for a job!

Such as building your resume/portfolio, being persistent in applying to as many positions as you can, using free time to enhance your skills for the career your interested in, and the importance of connecting with others in the industry face-to-face!

The art mainly features warm pastel colors, the designs feel so animated and lively, evoking strong emotion. The art also explores the vibrant LA setting! I also loved all the humor thrown into this story!

It was interesting seeing an outside and aspiring artist perspective on adjusting to life in LA!

Nourigat’s journey was one that featured many ups & downs, shows that the search for a job varies and isn’t the same for everyone. But reminds the reader that never giving up and continually motivating yourself to chase after your dreams is a big part of the process too!

Animation has always been interesting to me and looking up fanart and webcomics online in my free-time is always fun & leaves me inspired as an aspiring writer! So, though I’m not an animator/illustrator myself (though I wish) I loved reading about the details of breaking into the industry!

There’s a lot of little details and information that I never knew from my surface-level knowledge of the industry that was a lot of fun to learn more about.

I also loved how the ending features other artists in the industry, such as Angie Wang who works as a prop designer on Steven Universe and Kellye Perdue who’s a storyboard artist of one of my most anticipated upcoming cartoons, Infinity Train!

For me personally however, because this novel is very technical about the animation industry, I did find the story to be a bit text heavy at some points.

Overall though, I had such a fun time reading this graphic novel and learning more about Nourigat’s journey.

I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation is an informative graphic novel that’s above all a fun read that shares an animator’s journey of going after her dreams in LA! The art is expressive, Nourigat’s artistic style and use of pastel colors give life to this unique story! Anyone looking to get into animation or wanting to feel inspired by the journey of a fellow artist, should definitely give this a read!

July 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)1.Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries #2)

Library | Started July 1 + Finished July 5 |Rating: ★★★★☆ | Artificial Condition Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven continuation to The Murderbot Diaries! Artificial Condition follows Murderbot who is trying to learn more about its past by looking for the now abandoned mining facility, Ganaka Pit (where it went rogue). Similar to All Systems Red, I love how immersive the world is! In this novella, there’s some new characters, and its great that the tech introduced to this world gets expanded on, which in general adds even more to the world building! I did find however, that the crew that Murderbot joins in this novella were a bit forgettable and the pacing was pretty slow! However, this is easily one of my favorite speculative fiction/SFF novellas and I can’t wait to see where book 3 is headed!

Little Witch Academia Vol. 12. Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 by Yoh Yoshinari & Keisuke Sato (Artist)

Owned | Started + Finished July 8 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Little Witch Academia Vol. 1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A fun, magical adaptation to the Little Witch Academia anime! If you’ve never seen it, I’d recommend watching the 2013 short & then watch the Netflix anime (its amazing!! ) So, Little Witch Academia follows Akko Kagari, who comes from a non-magical family, and attends the Luna Nova Academy (an all-female academy for witches!). The manga basically follows her journey to get to Luna Nova, making new friends (like Lotte & Sucy), and getting into some pretty sticky situations while at Luna Nova! Its a pretty quick read, but the characters, plot and art are just so well done! Little Witch Academia is a fun and immersive read that I highly recommend if your looking for a light manga to get into!

Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion3.Someday, Somewhere by Lindsay Champion

Library | Started July 10 + Finished July 11 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | Someday, Somewhere Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Someday, Somewhere is a deeply moving contemporary that has main characters you’ll fall in love with! Told through a dual POV, this book follows Dominique and Ben and the connection + relationship that forges between the both of them! The eloquent writing is honestly what brings out the heart of each of the main characters! Ben is a musical prodigy and Dom dreams of becoming a dancer! The book starts when she sees Ben preform at Carnegie Hall and his music moves her to tears! Champion does a phenomenal job at building both Dom & Ben, from truly getting to the depths of their hearts and understanding their hopes, dreams, and fears! It was also great to see such diversity in this novel, from Dom who is biracial (1/2 white + Ecuadorian), her father is Ecuadorian, her best friend Cass is gay + black, Someday, Somewhere also explores bipolar disorder, though its subtly weaved into Ben’s POV, it becomes more of a central part of the novel nearing the end! My only minor issue is that ending was a bit rushed, but Someday, Somewhere is definitely a lyrical, moving, and character-driven YA Contemporary I recommend checking out!

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch4. Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Library | Started July 14 + Finished July 17 |Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾ | Love & Luck Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Love & Luck was a character-driven and atmospheric YA Contemporary perfect for summer! Following Lina’s friend from Love & Gelato, Addie. She & her brother Ian are forced to stick together by their mother (or risk dropping their school sports) and make their way to Italy (to meet up with Lina), but she quickly gets sucked into a road trip across Ireland alongside Ian & his friend/tour guide Rowan. She takes with her a guide-book (she found in the hotel she was staying at)  to overcome heartbreak & with Ian’s detour through Ireland corresponding with similar stops in the heartbreak guide +sports on the line, Addie knows she has no other choice but to tag along! Welch does such an amazing job at really building her main characters and allowing you to really understand them by the end! I also loved that this book really focuses on family and friendship. However, I did find there were some issues for me from the “guide sections” of the book that really slowed the pacing, side + some ‘main’ characters being pretty forgettable, & a certain plot point that could have been expanded on!

Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris5. Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris (Spectacle #1)

Library | Started July 18 + Finished July 18 |Rating: ★★★★★ | Spectacle Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is a captivating graphic novel! Set in the Samson Brother’s Circus, we follow twin sisters Anna & Kat (Anna is an engineer + part-time fortune teller, while Kat is a knife thrower). The circus is stuck in the desert for some time, so to lift people’s spirits, Jebediah Tetanus, the circus owner, decides to throw a party! Anna enjoys the party as she waits for her sister, but when she returns to her room, she finds her twin sister, Kat stabbed in the back. Suddenly she learns that Kat is a ghost & Anna is the only one able to see/communicate with her. So they team up and begin to find answers over what happened to Kat! The plot, characters, magic system, paranormal elements, mystery, humor etc. are all wonderfully explored + developed! So, even with so many different elements they all fit together and your never left lost or confused, additionally the mystery just continues to build over the course of the story! The art is beautiful and there’s so much diversity from representation to body types, and nearing the end it hints at lesbian rep.! Spectacle Vol. 1 is a magical and mysterious graphic novel that I loved so much and highly recommend!

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James6. The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James

Owned | Started July 24 + Finished July 26 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ | The Loneliest Girl In The Universe Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is a thought-provoking YA Sci-Fi with so many layers! Romy is the only left aboard the space craft, The Infinity! She plans to continue her ship’s mission to make it to Earth II, but a news of a potential war on earth brings about a  lot of change for Romy on her journey! With communication cut between her & her NASA therapist on earth, she luckily gets word of a ship (The Infinity) that plans to join hers on Earth II. Now Romy is communicating with its pilot, J and the two find themselves a little less lonely as they are still light years apart! This novel isn’t just a sci-fi, with elements of mystery + thriller, as Romy has to face many different challenges throughout this book! The world-building is fantastic, the characters, plot, setting, pacing are all so incredibly done! If your looking for a unique YA Sci-Fi, The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is the book to check out!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #13

Author Interview With Astrid Scholte {Four Dead Queens}

Sacred Lies Trailer Review

Engagement In Book-Related Content & On Book Blogs {Book Blog Discussion}

Plans For August:

~ Read even more! While for July I was really happy with the quality of books I read more than the quantity, I definitely want to catch up on my TBR before my summer vacation ends! 📚✨

~ I want to try and share another podcast review & I also have a podcast/YA Book-related post I’ve been working on and can’t wait to share! (Keep an eye out on the blog for it this week!) 😍💕🎙📚✨

~ Continue with my summer reading bullet journal! ☀📚📝✨ (I may make a post about it, but I’m not entirely sure yet 😂💕!)

What books did you read this month?? 📚✨

I also recently started a Ko-Fi last month to be able to plan more bookish giveaways (US & INTL)! If you like my content or want to support my blog, it would mean a lot! 💕📚✨

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Spectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris Review {Graphic Novel}

Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose GedrisSpectacle Vol. 1 by Megan Rose Gedris

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Pages: 136

Summary: Pragmatic engineer Anna works as a psychic in the Samson Brothers Circus, but she doesn’t believe in anything supernatural—until her twin sister Kat is murdered and comes back as a very demanding ghost. Sharing a room with her sister was hard, but now they’re sharing a body while trying to identify the killer. With few leads, a troupe full of secretive folk, and strange paranormal occurrences popping up around the circus, solving the case seems near impossible. But the murderer in their midst may be the least of their problems… 

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Spectacle Vol. 1 is an immersive and captivating graphic novel! Set at the Samson Brothers Circus, engineer Anna must solve the mystery of her twin sister Kat’s death, when she returns as a ghost! Aside from mystery, there’s also magic, elements of the paranormal, humor, & a wonderfully plotted story that will leave you eager for the next volume!

Similar to Heavy Vinyl this is another one to add to the list of my all-time favorite graphic novels!

Set in the old west, the Samson Brother’s Circus gets stuck in the desert and everyone is hoping the train will be fixed so they can move onto the next town, with water running low & the heat of the desert taking a toll on them!

We follow Anna & Kat, twin sisters who work at the circus. Anna is an engineer & part-time fortune teller, while Kat is a knife thrower. (Anna’s also built an interesting future predictor machine, which I thought was really cool & I loved how it weaved into the story later!)

Jebediah Tetanus, the circus founder/owner, decides to throw a party. As Kat is getting ready, she tells Anna to just go by herself and have fun instead of waiting for her.

As Anna is somewhat enjoying the party & drinks a bit too much, she stays for a while longer than expected and returns to her room to find her twin sister stabbed in the back.

Shortly after, she finds that Kat is ghost and Anna is the only one that can see her. When the Jebediah learns of what happened, he tells Anna that its best for her to solve the mystery in secret.

So as Anna begins unraveling the mystery, she finds herself with more questions than answers.

The plot unravels in such a great way, from the murder mystery, seeing more to the circus behind the scenes, learning more about the people in the circus & their connection to Kat, & more about the mystery surrounding why Kat has returned as a ghost & other strange/unique abilities that Kat & Anna have because of it.

What I loved about this graphic novel so much was the story! Aside from the murder mystery, there’s so much more to it than just that. It progresses in such a way where your never feeling like its dragging and your getting so much to the characters & story, while its still retaining the air of mystery!

It was great to get the perfect amount of backstory on so many great characters, from Carl, Kat’s assistant, Flora, Anna’s new friend who helps her solve the mystery, & so many others in the wonderful & memorable cast of characters!

The element of the paranormal is so well explored in Spectacle! From Kat as a ghost and the unique abilities that Anna gets, etc. the more that the unique lore about ghosts in this world, the more that it really expands on the mystery, but also makes you second guess what you thought you knew about Kat & her current situation!

I loved seeing the occurrences from seeing other ghosts, strange dreams, Kat being able to connect to Anna through her ghost & become a part of her & much more– all of these differing elements really made it stand out and was built so well into the story!

There’s also such great humor throughout the story! I found myself laughing a number of times and I really loved the sense of humor weaved throughout the story & characters.

Spectacle is also very diverse: from characters with differing body types, characters who identify as having dark & light brown skin, Chinese rep., & its hinted at, that there is lesbian rep.!

As for the art it is stunning! I really love the art-style that was used, its very detailed and colorful & overall I love this style of art so much!!I find it really goes so perfectly with the story!! Its beautiful!!

Spectacle is an all around fantastic graphic novel to check out! If your a fan of mystery, stories set in a circus, maybe even elements of the paranormal, Megan Rose Gedris’s Spectacle Volume 1 is a must read graphic novel! Highly recommend it!! 🎪✨

June 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin + Nina Vakueva1.Heavy Vinyl Volume 1 by Carly Usdin +Nina Vakueva (Heavy Vinyl #1)

Owned | Started/Finished June 1 |Rating: ★★★★★ | Heavy Vinyl Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A fun, diverse, graphic novel with so much girl power set in 90’s New Jersey! Heavy Vinyl follows Chris who works alongside her all-female co-workers at her local vinyl store. With anxiety, she wants to fit in with her new friends but hasn’t gotten the chance! That is until a case of missing singer introduces her to the world her co-workers have been hiding from her: their vigilante fight club! Now she’s tagging along with them to solve the mystery and maybe uncover more along the way! This is an incredible graphic novel that’s character-driven, diverse, and just a fun story! Friendship is at the heart of Heavy Vinyl and it really shows with each page. Additionally, there’s a lot of fantastic representation among the main cast/side characters: f/f & m/m relationships, lesbian rep., black & Puerto Rican rep., interracial relationships! I adored this graphic novel so much & highly recommend it!  I think there’s only 1 volume planned which is sad, because it ends on at place leaving you to want more from the story & characters, so definitely pick it up & support it, you won’t be disappointed!

Running With Lions by Julian Winters2.Running With Lions by Julian Winters

Owned| Started June 3 + Finished June 7 |Rating: ★★★★☆ ½| Running With Lions Full Review

Overall Thoughts: A coming-of-age YA sports contemporary, that really focuses on characters! Sebastian Hughes is ready for his last summer of soccer training camp with his teammates, before senior year. However things get a bit complicated when his former friend, Emir Shah, shows up. Though regardless of their past, Sebastian is eager to make Emir feel at home! Through a 3rd person POV, the characters, plot, summer setting/atmosphere come to life! A huge aspect of this novel is the way Winters explores sexuality, with characters identifying as gay and bisexual + through the teammate’s support + acceptance of each other throughout the entire book! The characters really grow as they spend their time at Camp Haven and I loved seeing their friendship dynamics with each turn of the page! The plot, characters, etc. are all wonderfully developed and the pacing is great! Highly recommend checking out Winter’s debut!

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl3. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

ARC| Started June 9 + Finished June 12 |Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾| Neverworld Wake Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Neverworld Wake was an intriguing YA Contemporary that blends with science fiction! Beatrice Hartley gets the opportunity to reconnect with her friends from boarding school at an estate, since the year or so since her boyfriend Jim’s passing. But when a mysterious man arrives, he tells them they’ve been caught in the Neverworld Wake and only one person can make out alive by the end. The mystery that surrounded Neverworld and how the info was revealed was both delivered and explored at perfect moments throughout the story. While the plot and mystery remain such huge parts of the story, I did find myself not enjoying this book as much as I’d hoped. The writing (which is 1st person) never really made me find a connection to Bea as a character and with the simplicity to the writing, some elements of the story, like side characters were pretty forgettable. However, what definitely made Neverworld Wake an immersive read, was definitely the mystery, and exploration + complexities to the Neverworld!

Not The Girls Your Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi4.Not The Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

ARC| Started June 13 + Finished June 18 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½| Not The Girls You’re Looking For Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Aminah Mae Safi’s debut explores the complexities of family and friendship (especially female friendships) in her debut! I connected with Lulu, the main character, from the very first page! She’s outgoing, not afraid to speak her mind and I just–loved her character so much.  This novel explores the messiness of friendship in an honest + complex way, and its such a huge theme of the story. Safi really allows for both friendship & family to be explored, and I was able to really see the many different sides to these dynamics. The unique plot, themes explored, character dynamics, etc. all came together so wonderfully in Not The Girls You’re Looking For to make for such a fantastic YA Contemporary!

A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir5. A Reaper At The Gates by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes #3)

Library| Started June 19 + Finished June 25|Rating:★★★★☆| A Reaper At The Gates Full Review

Overall Thoughts: This is very much a darker continuation to the An Ember In The Ashes series! Character development and lore/mythology are such huge parts of this book and really take center stage. I loved seeing the development and growth to Laia, Helene, and Elias. They are such phenomenal characters and you really see where their fates lead them in this book! War and the dark aftermath of it are explored in this novel and its just heartbreaking. While this was such a great book, I found for me personally that the pacing in the first 1/2 or so made this book a bit difficult for me to really love it as with the previous ones. With the pacing, I felt that with the urgency of the stakes that are given + alongside the writing that made side characters, setting, etc. feel a bit under-developed and not as fully immersive for me in previous books. However regardless of that, as soon as I reached the end, I needed the next book right away. So, I am beyond excited to read the final book and see what Sabaa has in store for the world/story of Ember! 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes #12

Audio Dime Museum Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Currently Reading & YA Books On My June 2018 TBR!

Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye Exclusive Cover Reveal

Dark Ages Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Plans For July:

~READ MORE!! I feel like I just haven’t been reading much as I’d hoped (;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`) & before summer ends, really want to catch up on my TBR! If you have any tips to read more, definitely let me know!! 😭💕📚📚

~ Post more podcast reviews for Literary Listens! June was my first month posting audio drama podcast reviews & they were such fun posts to make!! I really hope to review/recommend more audio dramas next month too!! 🎙✨💖

~Continue working on my summer bullet journal 😍📒💕☀

What books did you read this month?? 😍📚

+ What are your bookish goals for July? Lets discuss in the comments!! ✨✨

Heavy Vinyl Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin & Nina Vakueva Review {Graphic Novel}

Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin + Nina VakuevaHeavy Vinyl Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva,  Irene Flores & Rebecca Nalty
(Heavy Vinyl #1)

Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom! Studios)

Release Date: April 24, 2018

Pages: 112

Summary:When Chris joins the staff at her local record store, she’s surprised to find out that her co-workers share a secret: they’re all members of a secret fight club that take on the patriarchy and fight crime!

Starry-eyed Chris has just started the dream job every outcast kid in town wants: working at Vinyl Mayhem. It’s as rad as she imagined; her boss is BOSS, her co-workers spend their time arguing over music, pushing against the patriarchy, and endlessly trying to form a band. When Rosie Riot, the staff’s favorite singer, mysteriously vanishes the night before her band’s show, Chris discovers her co-workers are doing more than just sorting vinyl . . . Her local indie record store is also a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club!

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Heavy Vinyl is an incredible graphic novel that follows an all-female vigilante group! With great art, 90’s references, female friendship, diverse representation, and of course–music, you follow Chris as she, alongside her co-workers at the local record shop, solve a case of a missing singer! With mystery, friendship, and so much more, Heavy Vinyl is a fantastic graphic novel!

I hadn’t looked too much into the summary, so all I knew going into Heavy Vinyl was: female friendship, record store, and GLBTQIA+ rep!

Heavy Vinyl was beyond spectacular!! (~˘▾˘)~♥♥ I had a feeling I would enjoy it, but by the time I reached the last page, I realized just how much I loved & adored it! ❤

Its easily become one of my new all-time favorite graphic novels! Its one I could see myself reading over & over again!! Its fantastic!!

Set in 1998 New Jersey we follow Chris, who is passionate about music & has worked at her local record shop, Vinyl Destination for about a month!

She’s gotten pretty close with her co-workers, Maggie, Dolores (who doesn’t exactly get along w/ her sometimes), Kennedy, and her manager Irene, but doesn’t feel included just yet.

She hopes to find some way to fit in with her new friends (she suspects that maybe they have a secret band, that they won’t tell her about!) and maybe find the courage to tell her co-worker/friend Maggie how she feels about her!

Then when a local band Stegosour has a gig at the shop and it turns out their lead singer Rosie Riot, goes missing, while she had her suspicions, Chris learns there’s more to her co-workers than she originally thought!

It turns out, they are actually part of an all-female vigilante group!

“It’s more than just fighting crime and beating bad guys though–we pledge to fight all forms of injustice…”

Chris is unsure whether she has what it takes to be alongside these brave women, but with some encouragement from Maggie + connecting more with Dolores, she discovers that she does belong!

The plot itself was so interesting! Its first all about Chris working in the vinyl shop and getting a bit of a romantic plot-line with Maggie and Chris wondering if anything could ever happen between them!

Then its all about the mystery surrounding Rosie who’s gone missing & Chris finding a way to fit in this secret group that her co-workers are all a part of!

However, the more they get into the mystery of trying to find Rosie & understanding why her band mates are starting to act a bit odd, the more it becomes a even more interesting case than they first thought!

The world of the vigilante group and the history behind it was developed in such a great way, where it never felt like all the info was just delivered all at once. It develops all throughout the graphic novel and builds even more into the mystery of the plot when you reach the very end!

There’s also such a great emphasis and overall theme of friendship/female friendship! Chris also has anxiety and all though she has a passion for music, she finds she doesn’t really feel like she clicks with any of her co-workers completely!

However throughout Heavy Vinyl, the more she becomes a part of the vigilante group, the more she comes out of her shell bit by bit and really feels she can belong at Vinyl Destination and connect even more with her friends!

There’s also a lot of diverse representation throughout Heavy Vinyl, which was so great to see!! From the f/f & m/m representation (Irene & her girlfriend & Maggie’s 2 fathers), black rep. (Kennedy), Puerto Rican rep. (Dolores), and lesbian rep. (Chris)!

The characters and their dynamics was one of my favorite parts! We have Chris who really looks up to Irene and wants to be like her one day (with her passion of music), we have Kennedy who kicks butt and is always on top of any situation, Maggie who is the cutest & apparently loves everything ^_^, & Logan + Chris who we see really get along through their love of comics (Logan works at the comic store not to far from Vinyl Destination & the relationship between him & Kennedy is the sweetest♥♥!!)

I also really loved the art style & the colors, they worked perfectly with the story, setting, etc.!!

While reading Heavy Vinyl, I also listened to my favorite band Haim ^_^ I don’t usually listen to music w/ lyrics while reading, but I found in this case, overall it made the reading experience even better!

I was so sad when I reached the end because its clear there is so much more to the vigilante group and the conspiracy they uncover regarding the missing bands, etc.!

I think my only very minor issue was that I wanted a bit more background for the Vinyl Destination girls like Maggie, Irene, Kennedy, & Dolores. Their characters really do shine throughout the graphic novel, I just wanted a bit more!

From what I heard, there is only 1 volume of Heavy Vinyl currently planned, but I do hope there’s more in the future!

So, if your looking to read another graphic novel or are looking for a story with female friendship, music, mystery and adventure, I highly recommend picking up Heavy Vinyl! You won’t be disappointed!

Heavy Vinyl is a stunning graphic novel! From its 90’s and music scene, great artwork, fantastic story, mystery, intrigue, diverse representation, and girl power, Heavy Vinyl is a graphic novel you don’t want to miss!

Book Bytes I #11

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!
I’ve now split up the news into categories, to make it easier to jump to whichever book news you’d like to read about!

If there’s any book news I missed or any you want to discuss, definitely leave a comment!

Adaptation News

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han1.To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Film Release Date

With the recent announcement that the adaptation for Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before would be coming to Netflix this summer, it was recently announced by Jenny Han herself & Collider that the film now has an official release date as of April 10!

The ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ film is set to be released August 17 on Netflix!

2.Dumplin’ Soundtrack

Announced in 2017, Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy had been picked up to be adapted for film with Jennifer Aniston attached to star. As of April 11, Dolly Parton tweeted + shared a blog post about writing new music for the upcoming film.

Dumplin’ has no released date announced yet.

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

3. The Prince And The Dressmaker picked up by Universal Pictures

Announced April 16 by Deadline, producer Marc Platt and Universal Pictures picked up the rights to Jen Wang’s graphic novel, The Prince And The Dressmaker.

No release date, etc. was announced.

4.The Hate U Give Release Season + First Look!

Announced April 26, EW shared a First Look at the movie adaptation to Angie Thomas’s novel The Hate U Give!

While no set release date has been announced, it has been confirmed for a 2018 (looking at Fall) release date!

Book Deals

1.Flame In The Mist by Renée Ahdieh 2 Free E-Novellas

As of April 2, through PenguinTeen’s website, Renée Ahdieh announced she would be releasing 2 free e-novellas as a part of her Flame In The Mist duology!

They are set to take place in between the ending of Flame In The Mist and the beginning to Smoke In The Sun.

The 2 e-novells are titled:

Yumi & Okami

Yumi is set to be released April 24, 2018 & Okami is set to be released May 15, 2018!

2.The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

Set to be released in 2019 by Flux Books, Barthelmess’s debut The Quiet You Carry is about “17-year-old Victoria, who, after she’s kicked out of her toxic family, must contend with a chaotic foster home, dodge prying eyes at school, hang onto her college dreams, and somehow protect the stepsister she left behind” (Announced April 2).

3.Cacophony by Kelly Powell

Set to be released in Fall of 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, Powell’s debut Cacophony is a “a work of magical realism, following a violinist working with a lighthouse keeper to ‘solve a murder on an island that is also home to deadly sirens who prey on the inhabitants.’(Announced April 10).

4. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Set to be released in Summer of 2019 by Scholastic, Kuhn’s YA Debut,“I Love You So Mochi, is about a Japanese-American fashionista who journeys to Japan on a quest of self-discovery after her college plans fall apart; along the way, she reconnects with her estranged grandparents and finds romance with a med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot” (Announced April 12)

5.The Candle And The Flame by Nafiza Azad

Set to be released in 2019, Azad’s debut The Candle And The Flame is “Set in a city along the Silk Road that has become a refuge for those of all faiths, the YA fantasy is about a young woman with mysterious origins and two clans of powerful djinn who threaten to destroy her peace, and the unlikely alliances she’ll make to survive” (Announced April 12).

6. Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan

Set to be released in Spring of 2019, Fan’s steampunk fantasy, Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon is “In a world inspired by Qing dynasty China, a warrior girl, Anlei, teams up with a young thief to save her village from shadow spirits. But, after arriving at the Courts of Hell, a discovery challenges everything they know about who the real enemy is” (Announced April 12).

7.Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Set to be released in Fall of 2019, Yoon’s debut Frankly In Love, is “a fresh and relatable take on identity and race as seen through the eyes of a Korean-American teen caught between his parents’ traditional expectations and his own Southern California upbringing” (Announced April 12).

8.All Boy’s Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Set to be released in Winter of 2020, Johnson’s YA Memoir, All Boys Aren’t Blue ” takes stories from his life growing up as a queer black teen to show readers how they can fight for themselves or be allies in the struggle for equity and equality” (Announced April 12).

9.Rebel Seoul Companion by Axie Oh

Axie Oh author of her 2017 debut Rebel Seoul, announced she would be working on a companion novel set to be released in Fall of 2019 (Announced April 13).

10.Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

Set to be released in spring 2019, Sarvenaz Tash author of The Geek’s Guide To Unrequited Love and Three Day Summer, announced she would be releasing a “futuristic rom-com” titled Virtually Yours, which is “about a college freshman who tries out a virtual reality dating app, only to be matched up with the high school ex she’s still not over” (Announced April 24).

Cover Reveals + Title Reveals

1.Girl Squads by Sam Maggs

As of April 9, Nerdist revealed the cover for Magg’s upcoming novel:

Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships That Changed History

There’s also a Q&A along with the cover reveal going more in depth to the design of it!

Girl Squads is set to be released October 2, 2018!

2.Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Happily Ever After revealed the cover to Spooner’s upcoming fairy-tale retelling Sherwood along with a Q&A on April 9.

This Robin Hood retelling is set to be released in March of 2019!

3.Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Revealed on Nic Stone’s twitter as of April 13, was the cover to her upcoming YA Contemporary Odd One Out!

Her book is about “three kids of color trying to navigate the intersections of friendship and romance and figure out who it’s okay to love.”

Odd One Out by Nic Stone is set to be released October 9, 2018! + An excerpt of Stone’s book was also shared on EW as of April 20!

4.Outrun The Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

LGBTQReads revealed the cover for Tammi’s upcoming Queer, Greek-Mythology Fantasy, Outrun The Wind!

There’s also a discussion w/ the author on her inspiration for her novel!

Outrun The Wind is set to be released November 27!

5.A Map Of Days by Ransom Riggs

As of April 25, Penguin Teen and USA Today shared that Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Series will be adding a 4th book! A Map Of Days, according to USA Today, “kicks off a new trilogy in Riggs’ best-selling young-adult saga…”

Both a cover reveal and release date were announced!

A Map Of Days is set to be released October 2, 2018!

6.King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

EW revealed the cover to Leigh Bardugo’s upcoming novel in her Grishaverse, centering around Nikolai, titled King Of Scars as of April 30.

King Of Scars is set to be released January 29, 2019!

Publisher News

1.Epic Reads Bookmojis!

Announced April 3, Epic Reads revealed they launched an app for book-lovers called:

Bookmojis

Its a free app that ” includes a selection of YA emojis, GIFs, and stickers for us book nerds to use in all of our texts!!

According to their blog post, they’ll also be releasing new packs every month based off different book fandoms!

Its available through Google Play & Apple!

Tours

Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro1.Anger Is A Gift Tour

Announced by EW April 4, debut author Mark Oshiro, will be touring for his upcoming book Anger Is A Gift!

“A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.”

Anger Is A Gift is set to be released May 22, 2018!

A sneak peek of Oshiro’s upcoming novel was also released as of April 10! You can find links to download it through the publisher’s site Here!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand2.Furyborn Tour

EW announced as of April 18, that author Claire Legrand, will be on tour for her upcoming book, Furyborn!

Described as an epic feminist fantasy, Furyborn is one of the most anticipated new YA fantasy titles of 2018.

According to the publisher, Claire Legrand’s book “follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world… When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood… One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable ― until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world ― and of each other.

Furyborn is set to be released May 22, 2018!

And that wraps up the YA Book News for April 2018! ✨📚😄

Thoughts on April’s YA Book News? + Do you have a favorite piece of YA Book News from the month? 📚✨📰💻

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang Review

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen WangThe Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Publisher: First Second (FierceReads)

Release Date: February 13, 2018

Pages: 288

Summary:Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? 

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: The Prince And The Dressmaker is a delightful graphic novel that will capture you from page 1 as it breaks gender norms in Paris at the turn of the 19th Century! From the delightful artwork, characters, and fast-paced, but wonderfully developed plot, this story is filled with important themes such as trust and friendship. The Prince And The Dressmaker is a must read graphic novel for 2018~

The Prince And The Dressmaker was such an immersive story that had me hooked from the very beginning!

The story starts with Frances, a lower-level seamstress. However, when she gets assigned to create a dress for Lady Sophia for an upcoming ball hosted by Prince Sebastian, her life quickly changes.

When word spreads of her dress, Frances gets approached by someone who offers her 5 francs for to work for an unknown client. She quickly learns that client is none other than, prince Sebastian.

Prince Sebastian loves wearing dresses and he now entrusts Frances to keep his secret. He dresses up and goes out into town by the name of Lady Crystallia.

I loved the friendship + dynamic between Frances & Prince Sebastian so much! The prince & the dressmaker forge such a beautiful friendship forged on trust and the growth that develops overtime as Frances continues to make dresses for him.

Sebastian goes through such development as we learn more about him. Seeing the stress and pressure put upon him by his family to find a wife, we see how unhappy he feels. But with Frances happy to help him, we see him shine as Lady Crystallia.

“…I don’t feel like Prince Sebastian could lead a nation into battle, but Lady Crystallia could.”

Similarly, as Frances wants to grow as a seamstress, we see the stress she feels at times to hide who she is in order to keep Sebastian’s secret. However, what we learn further into the story is that Frances feels without her work as a seamstress, she’ll be nothing.

Through their beautiful friendship, we see how their stresses and struggles fade as both Frances and Sebastian come to see how it allows them both to shine.

The artwork is so beautiful! You can see the deep emotion and beauty of Frances dresses come to life through the art. The colors weaved in with each page bring so much to the brilliant artwork!

I highly recommend The Prince And The Dressmaker & The Tea Dragon Society if your looking to get into graphic novels! Both are fast-paced, but capture you with their beautiful and immersive stories, characters & artwork!

The Prince And The Dressmaker is delightful, charming, and diverse graphic novel that breaks gender norms and puts a focus on trust and friendship! Everything about this graphic novel from the story to the characters, and messages will capture your heart in this delightful + heartwarming story!

M.F.K.: Book One by Nilah Magruder Review

M.F.K. by Nilah MagruderM.F.K.: Book One by Nilah Magruder

Publisher: Insight Comics

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Pages: 129

Summary:A fantastic adventure following the story of Abbie, a deaf girl with a mysterious power, who is traveling across a vast desert to scatter her mother’s ashes.

In a world of sleeping gods, a broken government, and a fragile peace held in the hands of the corrupt, one youth must find the strength to stand up against evil and save humanity.

This story is not about that youth.

It’s about Abbie, who just wants to get to the mountain range called the Potter’s Spine and scatter her mother’s ashes. But the way is filled with sandstorms, wild beasts, and rogues that wield inhuman powers and prey on poor desert dwellers. When one of these rogues threatens the town where Abbie takes refuge, she must choose between running, or unleashing her own hidden power to meet danger head-on.

Journeys are hard on the social recluses of the world. 

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: M.F.K.: Book One is an intriguing graphic novel with a delightful cast of characters, colorful + wonderfully illustrated artwork, and sets up for an epic-fantasy adventure in future volumes!

Magruder’s M.F.K. immediately pulled me in with the vibrant and rich colors and the unique desert setting!

The story starts with Jamie and his grandfather gathering sand during a sandstorm on the outskirts of their desert town of Little Marigold.

Jamie soon spots Abbie, a young girl who’s carrying an urn of her mother’s ashes & is making a journey across the desert to scatter them. While joined by her Moa (giant bird), Abbie has been gravely injured and is in need of medical attention.

Abbie wakes to find herself being cared for by Jamie’s aunt, Nifrain. While spending her time recovering, she learns about the town + Jamie & his family.

It turns out the residents of Little Marigold have been constantly bullied by Parasai (or those with supernatural abilities) and are forced to give goods to them or risk their anger.

She quickly sees just how rudely they treat the residents and we soon learn that she herself is a Parasai that’s gone rogue!

M.F.K. is such a diverse graphic novel, from the cast being characters of color to our main character Abbie who uses a hearing aid! I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel with a deaf main character before & it was just so great to see that representation! 

The plot itself is slow but in a way that really works with the story. Based on the summary it very much gives a broad scope of the overall story, and having finished M.F.K., its obvious there’s a larger story in the works.

I absolutely loved all the main characters introduced! They are really given such depth and you feel you know them just from this 1st volume! From Jamie with his optimistic and upbeat personality, to the differing sides of aunt Nifrain. I also really loved Jamie & Nifrain’s comedic sides & the banter/friendship that develops between Abbie & Jamie! ❤

We learn much more about Jamie and his past (where his parents are & how he hopes to one day go on adventures) as he and Abbie get to know each other better while she recovers to continue on her journey!

 The main fantasy elements are expanded on nearing the end of the story and while its very much an introduction, I did want a little bit more background to how they came about. 

This is really wonderfully developed and immersive graphic novel that had me eager for the next one as soon as I reached the end! It does have its emotional and somewhat dark moments, but definitely has an upbeat adventure feel throughout & its comedic moments! Overall it just left me captivated and intrigued in this fantasy world!

M.F.K.: Book One is a vibrantly colored and illustrated story, with an intriguing  plot+ fantastic cast of characters that immerse you from the very beginning! If your looking for a diverse, comedic, magical, and mysterious graphic novel, M.F.K. is one to definitely check out!